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Willpower Affects If You Will Work Out or Skip It

When It Comes to Working Out, Just Do It

Recent studies show that for some people, exercise is second nature, and for others (most of us), it takes willpower to make yourself do it. The problem is, if we use up our willpower or self-control for other things during the day like resisting the urge to hit the snooze button, or not giving in to your cravings for the brownies a co-worker brought in, then we won't have enough willpower left over to push ourselves to get to the gym. Willpower is like money in our wallet — scientists believe we only have a certain amount of it and if it's spent on one thing, it can't be used on another. But willpower is also like a muscle — the more we challenge it, the stronger it gets.

So if getting yourself to the gym is more of a chore that takes willpower, one thing you can do in order to have the energy to work out is to get it over with first thing in the morning. Wake up, have a small snack and then exercise. Scheduled exercise is more likely to happen and if it's first on your to-do list, you'll definitely have enough willpower to push yourself to do it.

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Join The Conversation
tylergrl33 tylergrl33 7 years
I am a morning person, I love running to the news, having a healthy breakfast afterwards & feeling like I've accomplished a lot in the morning. Work can be such a drone- but that time in the morning to myself keeps me in a good state of mind until I get home.
andrennabird andrennabird 7 years
I read a NYTimes article about this last year. It's super interesting. Now I want to focus on increasing my total will power!
ella1978 ella1978 7 years
I wake up at 515 to go to the gym. I am not a "fan" of working out, but I love the way I feel afterwards. Luckily, by the time I actually "wake up" I'm already at the gym!! Ha. There is no better feeling that running longer than you have before, or doing a better workout than you did the day before. It makes you feel strong, and it makes you feel accomplished. All that before 7am... good things.
fizzymartini fizzymartini 7 years
Oh dear! I never thought of willpower as a depletable source - that explains a lot actually, as I have the worst willpower right after dinner, where I gorge on junk until (and sometimes beyond!) I feel ill. I'm sure my mum will say it's just an excuse if I explain it to her though! I wish I could run before work, but a) it's dark and I don't feel safe, and b) instead of energising me, runs make me feel great but knackered!! Don't want to fall asleep at my desk...
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
For me, exercise is a priority. I believe it's important for my well-being, so I make it a part of my life.
Sasseefrass Sasseefrass 7 years
My solution is to not think about it too much. If I have to convince myself to work out every day I won't last takes too much mental energy to come up with a new convincing motivation each time. I just treat it like it's a given that I'll do it and then do it.
lydialee_home lydialee_home 7 years
It's a habit for me now - exercise in the morning. I never regret after a workout - but on the other hand, I will feel uneasy/miserable if I skip a workout in the morning.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Every morning, I just get up and start working out before I have time to talk myself out of it. I put my workout clothes by my bed so I don't have to look for anything and I tell myself that I'll feel a lot better when I'm done and I know that if I skip, I'll maybe get a bit more sleep, but I will be kicking myself for not doing my workout.
dunnonuttin dunnonuttin 7 years
It really is second nature for me.... the willpower is getting up at 5:30 every morning! It has been more difficult since I started grad school but I know if I dont get a workout in then I'll feel stagnant all day and probably not be able to focus well.
Camarogirl67 Camarogirl67 7 years
OMG this is what I've been telling my friends, saying that I know I sound like a Nike ad. But it's so true. Just do it - don't think about if you want to, if you tired, what else you have to do. Just do it. And just do it in the morning, definitely!
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
I have started to pack my gym bag at night and put it next to my purse, that way when I'm up and out the door, I just take it with me so I will be sure to go after work
JulieJean JulieJean 7 years
Oh and my rest day is Friday, if I skip during the week, I just tell myself it will mess up my Friday and i loooove relaxing before an active weekend too much, I just end up working out :) It's quite a powerful motivator.
JulieJean JulieJean 7 years
I work out at home and I know I have to do it. I just change into my workout clothes as soon as I get home and just get it over with. Was struggling with it today, I kicked it up a notch this week so I'll probably be tempted all week to skip:)
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Exactly. It's not a matter of "motivation" - it's a matter of just going out and doing what needs to be done. If I am really not feeling it, I'll promise myself a reward.. I got a pedicure after my 3 mi swim a couple of weeks ago :)
laellavita laellavita 7 years
haha, this was me this morning. i was whining for maybe an hour and a half before i finally told myself to just suck it up and go to the gym like i should. i felt so much better after my workout, too, so i'm glad i didn't give into my bratty self.
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